Experience Olympic Tour Reviews are Outstanding
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We, four Brit “seniors”, wanted to see what the Olympic Peninsula had to offer covering our interests in wildlife, walking, mountain scenery and culture. Research led us to Experience Olympic and probably like you to investigating their reviews. Could what we read really be so positive – surely over 100 reviews couldn’t be wrong?
So we contacted Carolyn with an outline of what we would like to see in a 6 day exploration in late September and early October and from her first reply we sensed that we were in good hands.
Carolyn sent comprehensive details of her suggested 6 day itinerary and it was reassuring to note that she added the rider that this was a flexible plan subject to change due to weather and tidal conditions which reflects her meticulous planning throughout.
Carolyn explained that we could get from Seattle to our AirBnB in Port Angeles without hiring a car by using the Dungeness Line bus (free water, cookies and inclusive ferry ride) from Seattle airport (SEATAC) and she would meet us at the bus terminal in Port Angeles to take us to our accommodation which she duly did in her spacious and comfortable vehicle.
Picked up early each day we were taken to an organic store to choose our lunch from a huge variety suitable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Carolyn provided each of us with a pair of binoculars and she had a range of equipment which we could borrow including walking poles and if necessary various items of outdoor clothing.
Our itinerary included Hurricane Ridge walks, visiting the Hoh Rain Forest (don’t miss it!), rock-pooling on Rialto Beach, an opportunity to explore the Elwha River Project, a very interesting and educational visit to the Makah Tribal Museum, visiting Neah Bay, exploring Sol Duc Falls and a chance to visit the most north-westerly point of mainland United States at Cape Flattery.
We saw a great variety of wildlife due in no small part to Carolyn’s spotting skills and her local knowledge of the best sites to visit.
Carolyn has a great understanding of the area and her thorough knowledge of the flora and fauna made for a quite exceptional trip.
We were lucky both with the weather and finding Experience Olympic and perhaps you might not be so lucky with the weather but rest assured that Carolyn will take great care of you and provide an itinerary which will bring long-lasting memories.
Naturally, Carolyn took us back to our bus in Port Angeles for our return to Seattle to continue our holiday from there.
Thank you Carolyn.
We are two seniors who were joined by our nephew for a splendid six day tour of Olympic National Park. This magnificent experience took place in early October and was lead by Carolyn Wilcox: intrepid and knowledgeable interpreter of the natural and historical aspects of Olympic National Park and surrounding areas. Exhilarating mountain trails, enchanting rainforest and dramatic seascapes and tide pools were truly magical!
Hurricane Ridge enabled us views into the heart of Olympic National Park, including Mount Olympus on our first day. Then we again took advantage of amazing fall weather on our second day on a Cape Flattery wildlife tour where we were watched a very cooperative Gray Whale feeding directly below us. Near Cape Flattery, Hobuck Beach at low tide enabled us to view large basalt boulders encrusted in mussels and some tide pools with anemones.
Since fall rain promises colorful mushrooms, luxurious moss, and banana slugs, we were content to spend our third day exploring both Madison Falls and Marymere Falls. On our fourth day, we watched some Roosevelt Elk along the side of the road on a Hoh Rainforest elk and hiking tour. As we were walking towards the Hoh Rainforest Hall of Mosses trail, two river otters swam under the small bridge where we were standing!
We then caught low tide at Ruby Beach and had the fortune of finding sea stars on an Olympic National Park beach tour. We combined the Dungeness River with an Elwha River Restoration tour on the fifth day. Lastly, on our sixth and final day, we visited the lovely Sol Duc Falls.
We felt that our Olympic Peninsula six-day adventure was very well planned and we were left with a sense of all the major environments. In a sense, our trip was a leap back to our childhood, with every day becoming an adventure for the senses. Thank you Carolyn Wilcox, for sharing your knowledge and passion for such a uniquely wild landscape.
Triumphant Two Fall Days of Olympic Peninsula Birding by Nancy and Elizabeth
We--Elizabeth and Nancy--two gals in our early 70’s, had a blast on a two-day birding adventure on the Olympic Peninsula with Carolyn, naturalist extraordinaire! While our husbands were otherwise occupied fishing in early September, Carolyn of ExperienceOlympic Guided Tours picked us up, provided delicious, healthful lunches and a spotting scope, and took us around the Olympic Peninsula, pointing out all matter of natural phenomena.
We saw many, many birds and a few mammals we'd never before seen, including red crossbills and a gray whale. On the first day, we birded Hurricane Ridge’s Obstruction Point Road and Ediz Hook in Port Angeles. On the second day, we went to Neah Bay's Cape Flattery, including many stops while traveling to and from Neah Bay. In addition to gray whale, we also saw sea otter, harbor seals, and sea lions. The weather was absolutely glorious.
And we truly could not have asked for a more perfect guide/delightful person/young friend to take us all around. Carolyn Wilcox definitely pulled out all the stops. We loved every single minute of our time with her. She has a wealth of expertise and a warm, engaging personality. In sum, she is awesome!
As senior citizens who didn't want to drive, we were looking for a 4 day vacation in the Olympic National Park in July. We considered going with a large tour company but fortunately we found the Experience Olympic website and chose a private guided tour with Carolyn.
We feel that our experience shows that you can have a great visit to Olympic National Park without renting a car if touring with Experience Olympic guided tours. Carolyn picked us up in her van at our agreed time. She supplied us with delicious and healthy lunches, with walking poles, excellent binoculars, and even brought a scope to better see distant objects. We appreciated her vast knowledge of the flora and fauna wherever we went. Most of all we were impressed with her caring and friendly demeanor. She even snapped some great photos of us in the most beautiful settings on the Olympic Peninsula.
On Day 1 we went tidepooling on the Salish Sea, enjoyed a scenic drive to Lake Crescent, and visited the historic Lake Crescent Lodge. On Day 2, we enjoyed wildflowers and scenic beauty at Hurricane Ridge and strolled through a forest full of ancient trees. On Day 3 we took the long drive to the Hoh Rainforest to enjoy the Hall of Mosses. On Day 4, we toured around Port Angles proper to enjoy outdoor art, artifacts at the Lower Elwha Heritage Center, a native cedar longhouse, and tidepool animals at the Marine Life Center. We also learned about the national marine sanctuary and looked for marine life at the end of Ediz Hook.
Carolyn helped us to find Rocket Transportation that picked us up at our hotel in Port Angeles and dropped us off at SeaTac airport. We would advise other seniors to consider staying at the Red Lion for easier walking to a variety of downtown Port Angeles shops and restaurants.
We have traveled with a private tour guide in the past but this was a far better experience. Another great advantage was the flexibility to make changes in our itinerary. It was a thoroughly enjoyable vacation, far superior to going with a large group. We would not hesitate to take another trip with our favorite guide, Carolyn of ExperienceOlympic.
Fall Elwha River hike by Renee Metcalf
On a September excursion to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, I skipped out a bit early on the last day of a dance workshop to enjoy a guided hike before returning to Phoenix. This is not a slight thing for a core dancer to miss any dance opportunities. But I had promised myself that the next time I was on the Olympic Peninsula, I would explore Olympic National Park.
Researching briefly, I discovered the enormity of this place! The literature promised well-marked trails but I've had experiences before with these so-called trails. And I thought about how easily I get lost. And about how I didn’t want to be a snack for a bear or mountain lion. So I searched and found an excellent guide: Carolyn of ExperienceOlympic guided tours.
For starters, Carolyn presents her hikers with chocolate sustenance and not just any chocolate, but lavender dark chocolate! She also fixed me up with a great set of binoculars on a harness so they wouldn’t swing around and get in my way as we hiked. Other tour gear included a fanny pack and water bottles, so I didn’t have to try to fit those things in my suitcase as well.
I know how to have fun at these dance workshops, but it left me more tired than I would admit. Nevertheless, I was determined to go on my guided hike with Experience Olympic. But when I am physically tired, I become awfully quiet. Carolyn didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t keeping up my end of the conversation.
We spent our day exploring a changing Elwha River and we had the glorious good luck and timing to see salmon spawning. You might have seen this on TV, but it cannot replace seeing it firsthand for yourself! Precariously, I perched on a log and dangled my hair into the refreshing water.
As we battled our way through ferns as tall as me, she pointed out things I might have missed otherwise: native birds, a frog, and a friendly snail. Do you believe that you can fall in love with a snail? I did! And yes, we spotted clearly defined mountain lion tracks!
Next, we enjoyed the delicious snacks that Carolyn thought to bring: cheese curds, blueberries and olive-rosemary bread.
Carolyn Wilcox is a pleasant and knowledgeable young woman whom I cannot recommend highly enough. I plan to attend the dance workshop again next year and allot even more time for a great hike with her - maybe tidepool exploring?
Olympic Tidepool Spring Tour by Cam and Lucia Dhogee
What do mid-sixties grandparents from Iowa know about tidepooling? Not a thing. But we weren't about to let that stop us from creating an amazing experience for our land-locked 12-year-old granddaughter and 9-year-old grandson. Enter Carolyn of Experience Olympic guided tours, owner and tour guide extraordinaire.
Carolyn rousted us out of our rooms early to catch a June low tide, outfitted us with really useful gear and drove us to the shoreline mussel beds. What? Mussel beds? We don't have mussels bordering our farm ponds in Iowa. "Walk like this and you won't fall or harm the mussels," she instructed and demonstrated.
And we were off on our fantastic adventure to see sea stars, chitons, crabs, kelp and an octopus. Yes, a real live octopus sheltered in a nice big tidepool until the tide came back in. Our grandkids spotted the octopus first and we had trouble believing them until we saw this amazing creature with our own eyes. It actually came out into full view from its hiding place in a rocky crevice and changed color as it grabbed onto a rock.
Carolyn Wilcox was patient and discreet in meeting the needs of the youngsters and the oldsters. She chose the walking path carefully, guiding us through the smoothest, safest route and monitoring our strength and coordination. All in all, our guided tour was a safe and exciting tidepool adventure for the slightly stiff grandparents and the luckily limber grandchildren. Can't wait to have another multi-generational Olympic experience with Carolyn!
Spring Elwha River hike by A. Clark
Carolyn of Experience Olympic guided tours knows Olympic wildlife better than anyone I have ever met! When she said that we were going to hike in the Elwha Valley and see the spring black bears, I thought, "Yeah right, but the river is really pretty, so I might as well go." A couple of hours later, I'm sitting on a moss-covered rock with my binoculars glued to my face! She was more than right! Not only were there Black Bears, but I was watching them interact with the Roosevelt Elk in the same meadow. It was one of the most unforgettable wildlife viewing experiences in my life. Every time I hike with Carolyn, she brings the forest to life and I learn something new. She is able to see and explain things in ways that you will always remember. I wish that I could always hike with Carolyn!
Elwha Hiking and Dam Removal Tours by M. Ortega-Welch
Carolyn of Experienc eOlympic led a guided tour of the Elwha River, which turned out to be one of my best afternoons in the Olympics! We started with coffee and pastries from a local bakery and then drove out to the mouth of the Elwha River. With her spotting scope and excellent teaching skills, Carolyn of Experience Olympic guided tours pointed out Common Loons, Marbled Murrelets (an endangered species!), and Harbor Seals out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. She really helped me develop my birding and wildlife viewing skills. As we hiked along the trail, she pointed out River Otter scat and native plants. We sampled six different kinds of wild berries! When a Garter Snake slithered across the trail, she deftly picked it up so we could have a closer inspection. I felt like I was on a Wild America episode with Marty Stouffer! Our day ended taking in the view of the historic Elwha dam removal. All that and she even got me back to my bus on time. Thanks, Carolyn, for a great outdoor adventure!
Pacific Northwest Tide Pool tour by E. Newman
I had an amazing day outdoors with Carolyn Wilcox exploring the tidepools. I learned so much about the tides and all the little creatures that live in and around the water. Carolyn of Experience Olympic is an excellent guide, setting a comfortable pace, highlighting things we would have otherwise passed by, and sharing freely her expertise. It was impossible not to get caught up in her excitement of finding some rare algae or a beautiful sea star.
An Experience Olympic guided tour with Carolyn was like spending the day with a friend - a fun, informative, and accommodating friend who was in on the local knowledge and hidden gems.
Introduction to Bird Watching by R. Thurman
I have always been interested in birds but didn’t have any idea on how to get started, what to look for, or where to go. Carolyn Wilcox really gave me a push on how to get started and confirmed my suspicions that watching birds is way cool. I learned that it is also really easy and is something you can do without having to be a hardy hiker.
First, Carolyn has great equipment to make birding easy. I had been afraid that I wouldn’t be able to see the birds very well but we were well trained us how to use the binoculars and she described how to look for the birds. Her spotting scope made it possible for us to watch some birds for several minutes and we were treated with watching mergansers mate in the water, an unforgettable experience.
Second, Carolyn had an app that allowed her to find a bird in seconds to confirm the bird that we saw, hear the call and learn a few fun facts. With Carolyn’s vast knowledge of birds it made it possible to identify a number of birds in the wetlands that surrounded us. Prior to this I had tried to look up birds in a book but it took forever and you would lose the bird you were looking at.
Taking this guided tour has changed the way that I look at birds and has enhanced my outdoor experiences. I now watch birds everywhere. I watch out of my windows at home, while in the park, and when we get the chance to walk in the woods. I am now more aware of what to look for and to appreciate what I am seeing. I hope to sign up for another experience with Carolyn.
My trip to Costa Rica in 2006 with Carolyn, when she was a teacher at Meadowdale High School, was my first adventure outside of the United States. Initially I was very hesitant to go but by the end of the trip I did not want to leave. Carolyn’s excellent organization allowed me and the other students to have such an enjoyable trip. She not only encouraged us to immerse ourselves in the culture but also in Costa Rican wildlife. We went to local markets, took dance lessons, went bird watching, went to Spanish language school, and worked with locals to preserve the Leatherback Sea Turtle. I have traveled with other groups to other places but none as well organized and as exciting as my very first trip with Carolyn, who is now the owner of Experience Olympic guided tours. It was a trip of a lifetime and I will never forget it.
Tour Olympic National Park with Experience Olympic, Port Angeles WA 98362 has posted reviews and photos on our site with permission.